News / South Africa / Courts

Bernadette Wicks
Senior court reporter
2 minute read
1 Oct 2021
6:08 am

Court hears of boy’s strip club dungeon horror

Bernadette Wicks

Child was allegedly molested, assaulted by mom, stepdad.

Picture: iStock

Closing arguments in the state’s case against an East Rand mother facing a raft of child abuse charges – among them the rape of her then eight-year-old son – got into their second day in the High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday.

The boy is alleged to have suffered years of abuse at the hands of his mother and his stepfather before he landed up at a place of safety in 2017 and reported it, prompting both their arrests.

Over and above the rape charges, the boy’s mother is facing charges of sexual exploitation, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, child neglect and compelling a child to witness sexual acts.

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His stepfather is also facing charges of rape, together with charges of sexual assault and sexual exploitation.

According to the indictment, the boy was molested and assaulted by the two on multiple occasions over a five-year period.

It’s also alleged that for days on end, he was held in a “dungeon” at a local strip club where his mother was working and that she allowed other men and women to molest him during this period.

His mother opted not to testify or call any witnesses, despite having pleaded not guilty. His stepfather did take the stand, however, and claimed the boy was a liar.

State advocate Adele Barnard argued the boy’s evidence fell outside the ambit of most young children’s worlds and that he had no reason to lie.

Of the boy’s mother’s decision not to testify or call any witnesses, Barnard argued although everyone had the right to remain silent, “in this case there was overwhelming evidence by the complainant”, as well as medical evidence.

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“The state submits there was overwhelming evidence she had to answer to and her right to remain silent cannot be without consequence,” Barnard said.

But her counsel, advocate Anton Lerm, argued the boy had wrongly identified his mother as his rapist.

“It is not disputed that what happened there happened. The question is: who did it?” he said, adding that it was dark, with the only source of light his abusers’ cellphones.

He suggested the boy may have had “an impression” that it was his mother but that it could possibly have been another dancer.

The case continues today, when the court is expected to hear from counsel for the boy’s stepfather.